Poland provokes Europe: we explain the “Polexit” to you

the essential Poland once again challenged the European Union. This time, justice considered that certain articles of the European treaties were incompatible with the Constitution of the country. Despite its desire to remain in the Union, affirmed this Friday, October 8, a potential “Polextit” hangs over the European Union.

The Warsaw Constitutional Court ruled on Thursday (October 7th) that “the organs of the European Union operate outside the competences entrusted to them in the treaties”. A provocation which is not a first for Warsaw. Despite these signs of a desire for emancipation from the European Union, Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki assured this Friday, October 8 that Warsaw wished to remain in the European Union.

Everything starts from European community law

The scenario of a “Polexit” was born when the Polish court ruled, Thursday, October 7, against the “supremacy of European Community law”. This is a historic decision, which could threaten Poland’s membership of the European Union. The Polish Constitutional Court declared that certain articles of the Treaty of the European Union were indeed “incompatible” with the Polish constitution. She then called on the European institutions not to “act beyond the scope of their competence” by interfering with the Polish judicial system.

Immediately, the European Union reacted. The President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, “deeply concerned” by this decision, pledged to “ensure respect for the founding principles” of the primacy of European law and of the judgments of the Court of Justice. Didier Reydners, European Commissioner for Justice, for his part affirmed that the Union would use “all the tools” at its disposal to protect the primacy of European law.

Constant provocations from Poland

Since 2016, the conflict continues between the European institutions and the Polish populist government. The heart of the disagreement between Poland and the European Union comes from the judicial reform initiated by the nationalist conservative party in power, Law and Justice, endangering the independence of judges and the European rule of law.

First of all, a report by the Group of States against Corruption, organs of the Council of Europe, pointed to legislative changes making “judges more and more vulnerable to political control” in 2019, reports Le Parisien . Changes made while a reform had already “dangerously affected the independence of the judiciary” in 2016 and 2018.

Then, the existence of the disciplinary chamber of the Supreme Court, in charge of the supervision of judges, is also among these reforms decried by the EU. This Court has the power to waive their immunity to expose them to prosecution, criminal, or may reduce their wages. A fear for the rule of law, since “the judicial systems of the European Union must be independent and fair” assured Ursula von der Leyen.

Finally, several local authorities in Poland have since declared “zones without LGBT ideology” 2019. A decision deemed discriminatory by Brussels, which launched an infringement procedure in mid-July.

During the summer, the Court of Justice of the European Union called for an immediate end to the activities of the disciplinary chamber of the Supreme Court, pending a judgment on the merits. In early September, after ruling that the judgment of the EU Court of Justice to suspend the disciplinary chamber had not been respected by Warsaw, the European Commission imposed financial sanctions on Poland. Also, the EU has still not validated the country’s post-Covid recovery plan, involving billion euros in subsidies and 34 billions of euros in cheap loan.

The anger of European countries against Warsaw

According to the capitals of the Union, united on European decisions, the common rules must be fully applied. The French Minister of European Affairs sees this decision in Warsaw as a very serious attack against the European Union, reports RFI. “It’s extremely serious (…), it’s an attack against the European Union” reacted Clément Beaune, Secretary of State for European Affairs, on BFMTV.

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